Bismarck construction flaws

Discussions about the history of the ship, technical details, etc.
Thorsten Wahl
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:24 am

the tanks within the bow area were only reservetanks /trimcells due to their exposed location, they were prohibited to be filled with fuel on war duty.
nevertheless ther should be some content for trim reasons
the ligth blue area should be the part wich was primaryly filled with seawater due to the damage.

the damage as described was located above the 3rd deck(panzerdeck).
Within this area only the 4th deck (upper platform deck) was ligthly armored (20mmWh) and hull extending from slightly abov the 3rd deck to the 4th deck (60mmWh) ships hull otherwise 35 mm Wh within this area

due to the water in the foreship and damage to the pumping equipment it was not that easy to remove the liquid contend from the trimtanks
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Djoser » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:50 am

OK just read the text portion of Tirpitz the Floating Fortress by David Brown.

Basically a more compact but very well done coffee table book. But in it, the author mentioned that had the Bismarck had 4 shafts instead of 3, he might have been able to deal with that nasty torpedo hit a little more easily. Comments?

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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Djoser » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:22 pm

Apparently WW I German battlecruisers had 4 shafts?

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Dave Saxton » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:54 pm

Having four shafts didn"t do the Hiei any good. I'm hard pressed to find examples of four shafts over coming jammed rudders any better than three shafts over coming jammed rudders. Vittorio Veneto over came a stern hit to make port, but the Littorio class had small auxillary rudders, and I'm not sure the primary rudder was disabled anyway. So did Yamato have auxillary rudders, but Yamato remained crippled nonetheless.
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Dreadnought » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:36 pm

When ships (military especially) in those days were taken for sea trials, certain tests included being capable of steering with the engines alone in case the steering was damaged. This is not to say they could "turn on the dime" but manage a certain degree of port/starboard movement to what they would believe may avoid a fatal collision. Bismark having the three shaft design like several of her predisessors failed this test on her sea trials as did ships like the Titanic having the three shaft central design as well. A three shaft disign with one shaft on the centerline IMO, would be very sluggish if not completely unresponsive pending sea state, draft and total displacement, Bismark was on a war footing so we "could" imply that she was almost at full displacement minus fuel leakage and main battery rounds expended.
For many designs like the battleships, what the ship burned in fuel, was taken back aboard in sea water ballast, keeping the ship a steady dispalcement and therefore a steady gun platform at all times.We know her steerage compartments to be flooded from what is told.

Basically, one shaft is being used to steer since the central shaft is "central" by all means and more then likely will not aid in steering at all in either port or starboard execution since bing centered will IMO, do nothing more then move the ship forward.

IMO, If Bismark would have been designed with either four shafts (which would have eliminated the "central shaft") and therefore give more aid to "casuality" steering being able to increase speed on one set and full reverse on the other set then perhaps she would have had some kind of manuverability after the rudders were damaged.

Also, If the Bismark had been designed like very few other BB's of that era (US Iowa class)then she should have been designed with individual rudder steering (in other words they can be steered individualy) in case of damage to one of the two.

The USN BB's that were designed during this time period were designed with this in mind.

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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Thorsten Wahl » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:44 pm

Also, If the Bismark had been designed like very few other BB's of that era (US Iowa class)then she should have been designed with individual rudder steering (in other words they can be steered individualy) in case of damage to one of the two.


Bismarck class had 2 individual rudder machines and hand driven reserve.
"The steering mechanism was, for each rudder a left hand and right hand spindle driven through a electrical driven worm drive. There were two steering gear motor rooms and two rooms with hand steering apparatus. Each stearing gear motor was capable of driving both rudders through a transverse shaft and coupling. Shifting from one motor to the other was possible. Each of the steering gear compartments was watertight."

IMO, If Bismark would have been designed with either four shafts (which would have eliminated the "central shaft") and therefore give more aid to "casuality" steering being able to increase speed on one set and full reverse on the other set then perhaps she would have had some kind of manuverability after the rudders were damaged.


the rudders were fixed at 12 degrees rudder position and the rudder compartments were completely open to the ocean by the detonation of approximately 500 lb torpex beneath the stearing compartment and the 10,5 m stern section. The rudder effect of a fixxed rudder position is much greater than any rudder effect of propulsion.
Last edited by Thorsten Wahl on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ede144
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby ede144 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:57 pm

Probably US Navy would have been able to enter the steering geat room which was flooded every 20 seconds or so and uncouple the damaged ruder.:-)

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RF
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby RF » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:48 pm

Is there any hard evidence that they would have been able to do so, or is this conjecture? Do we have any similar problem on a US Navy capital ship to compare this with?
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby tommy303 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:54 pm

The only major example that comes to mind is the USS Intrepid (CV11), whose rudder was jammed by an aerial torpedo hit on 17 Feb 1944. The captain was able to overcome the jammed rudder using the engines for a while, but adverse winds swung her around onto a heading towards Japan. Using cargo nets, canvas and wood, the crew was able to jury rig a headsail which helped her to maintain a course towards Pearl Harbour, which she reached a week later. Bear in mind though, that she had the support and protection of her carrier task force until she was out of the combat zone.

At Pearl Harbour the damaged rudder was cut away and the ship set out for the west coast. However, with out the steadying influence of the rudder, and being a particularly clean design hull with little or now dead wood, it was found she could not be held on course by engines alone and was virtually out of control. Returning to Pearl Harbour with tug assistance, a jury fin and rudder were installed and the sortie to the West Coast resumed. The jury rig worked perfectly and the ship reached on March 22.

For further details see:

http://www.researcheratlarge.com/Ships/ ... ering.html

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RF
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby RF » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:58 am

tommy303 wrote: Bear in mind though, that she had the support and protection of her carrier task force until she was out of the combat zone.
l


Without that support I presume that the same efforts by the crew would have been made.

If this had been a 1942 situation, where Japanese naval avaition and available surface warships would have been in much greater strength then we are closer to a Bismarck type scenario. Even so I would expect the Americans to do the utmost to save their ship.
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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby tommy303 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:59 pm

My general impression is that for Intrepid, the weather was rather better than it was for Bismarck; I am sure the crew would have done everything they could, even without supporting units to screen the damaged ship. How it might have played out earlier in the war when the USN was the underdog, I cannot say.

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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby Dreadnought » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:58 pm

Thank You Tommy.
By this I am assuming that Bismarks final rudder drive was electric as was her "T" bar helm steering. I figured she did have hand steering as shown with Prince Eugan as they "kite" steered her from the main deck after being struck by a torpedo by the British sub Trident.

One may wonder if her steering was hydraulic that it "may" have been able to overcome then jammed rudders via pressure instead of electric wormgear. I would not have thought "two" rudder rooms. Most had the rudder rams in one single room unless it was for machinery spacing purposes.

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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby James Finlay » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:12 pm

Book on Ark Royal commented on Bismarck's stern jamming by collapsing on rudders when aerial launched torpedo hit on 26th May.The stern was so designed to reduce drag but was insufficienly armoured.

Book on Rodney commented on 16" shell stern hit severely damaging or detaching stern section at circa 1027 hrs. 27th May - final action against the Bismarck.

Tirpitz reported to have had stern strengthened following Bismarck 'disaster' (that is 'disaster' for the German Navy, not the British - mercifully!),

Prinz Eugen later in war had stern section blown off by British Submarine torpedo. Repaired I think by fitting that from 'never to be completed' Aircraft Carrier (based on Hipper class cruiser hull design maybe?)

All above seems to point to congenital weakness in these ships.

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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby alecsandros » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:27 am

James Finlay wrote:Book on Ark Royal commented on Bismarck's stern jamming by collapsing on rudders when aerial launched torpedo hit on 26th May.The stern was so designed to reduce drag but was insufficienly armoured.

Book on Rodney commented on 16" shell stern hit severely damaging or detaching stern section at circa 1027 hrs. 27th May - final action against the Bismarck.

Tirpitz reported to have had stern strengthened following Bismarck 'disaster' (that is 'disaster' for the German Navy, not the British - mercifully!),

Prinz Eugen later in war had stern section blown off by British Submarine torpedo. Repaired I think by fitting that from 'never to be completed' Aircraft Carrier (based on Hipper class cruiser hull design maybe?)

All above seems to point to congenital weakness in these ships.


No.

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Re: Bismarck construction flaws

Postby James Finlay » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:31 pm

Hi Alecsandros

You say 'No'....on what basis?


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